The coarse voice calls to me once more.
“Kevin!” I tiptoe between a growing fire and a collapsed brick wall.
“Yeah?” I ask stepping in next to him. Two bodies sit infront of him. I see that they’re in the same situation that Gabe was in. A piece of debris sits over them pinning them to the ground.
“I lift you pull,” I mutter with a shake of my head. He nods. I squat down next to it and test its weight. Heavy. “One, two, three-” Screeches erupt as metal scrapes metal and loose pieces fall randomly. I concentrate on keeping the debris lifted, trying not to let it slip. There’s no way I could lift it off of them and cast it aside. I’m counting to twenty, but when I get to twenty I’m done. I’ll be spent. Working out and adrenaline can only get one so far and this is where lines start to get drawn.
“Hurry,” I grunt. fourteen, fifteen, sixteen, “I can’t. Hold. Longer.” Nineteen,twen- I drop the load and let out several long, rough breaths. Then I cough a devil out.
“You get them?” I gasp.
“Yeah,” He gasps back. I look at the two bodies. One is obviously dead. I can’t look at his face. I look to the second.
“Felicia’s alive, help me lift her onto my shoulders,” I tell him wondering at the physical strain I am putting on my body. Even after constant physical excercise for three years- though as a teen these are not straight on three years- but three years nonetheless. In Raiders, a JROTC sport, I had done plenty of firemen carries after running four to five miles and doing seventy push-ups and sit-ups in a minute’s time. And that was without the life-or-death adrenaline that’s pumping through my veins right now. But now I’m exhausted. I want to lie down and go to sleep, to sleep and not wake up until these horrors and nightmares go away. I want to sleep until the teacher swats me on the forearm and tells me to wake up. Tells me to go to detention for the first time. Tells me I’ve been suspended for whatever reason. For the simplicity and ease of real life. Why can I not wake now?
“Here,” Gabe says lifting her slightly. I kneel down and allow him to place her on my shoulders. I shuffle her unconscious body around a little before I’m satisfied. A limp body is easier than a wake one.
“Let’s go,” I mutter as we head for the door. I step out into what’s left of the hallway. I spot two shapes leaving the firey room from across the hallway. Eight feet infront of us.
“Caden,” I whisper in surprise. My voice allowing me no more. Gabe achieves more.
“Caden, are there others?” He asks looking between the well muscled and defined blonde teenage boy to the tall and lanky brown haired teenage girl.
“Yeah,” The girl, Megan, says shakily on the verge of tears (Caden doesn’t look far from it himself and I know I’m not) “We need help getting them.” I open my mouth to respond when I see movement to my left. Two soldiers stand there. About thirty feet away. Their guns are drawn but not aimed. They wear gas masks.
“Hey!” One calls, I feel relief flood through my body. “Come here, you’ve all been called back. We’re coming to get you,” Questions flood through my mind. If soldiers are here does that mean there’s a fight going on outside the school and that’s why they were bombed? Or did the bombing come first and that decided the battleground?
“Please sir, we have a trapped student in there,” Megan calls pointing at the room she came out of. The first man, a slightly shorter man, waves us towards them.
“Alright, but first we need to get the able-bodies. Come to us,”
“Wait, I have some friends at the end of the hall I need to get,” I say turning to go get them.
“No!” The taller one yells, “You just point us in the direction and we’ll get them. Don’t worry. You are our main concern!” I want to argue but know it makes a sort of terrible sense. Besides, Felicia is getting heavy. She’s a shapely female and this unfortunately leads to a slightly heavier weight. I take a heavy step toward before I hear Megan yelling again.
“No! I won’t leave them!” The heat increases and she turns to go back inside the collapsed room. Caden moves out of her way when the taller soldier lifts his rifle. Everyone freezes.
“Come! Now!” He seems to say normally yet his voice carries with such authority it leaves no room for negotiation. Megan pouts out her lip but turns back toward the soldiers.
I get ready to take another step when two boys, upperclassmen that I recognize from other classes, step out of nowhere and hit both soldiers from behind.
“Run, they’re rounding up the-” Another gunshot sounds. But now the boy has a red hole in his chest. He falls to the ground and his comrade is quickly cleaned up. I’ve made my decision.
I turn and sprint in the opposite direction, Felicia’s weight suddenly seems a little less. My legs and back still ache but maybe not so much...
“Up!” I scream as I see the three kneeling figures huddled against each other near the outside. We catch up to them and they begin to fall in beside us as they cast worried and confused glances behind us.
Time passes slowly and quickly and blurry yet so very clearly. I could not tell you what happened in those next few minutes but I remember everything being so vivid. It could have taken no longer than three minutes yet it felt like hours but it happened in seconds... And how we ended up in the line of trees (probably a quarter of a mile thick) I could not tell you. But we are here now and no one appears to be in pursuit. I lay down Felicia in the wood. I lean against a tree and pant.